democracy

Activists from campaign group Sydney Says No 2 Honduran Coup gathered on September 15 to mark Honduran Independence Day, 14 months after elected president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and flown out of the country in a military coup on June 28, 2009.

Although in exile, Zelaya continues to campaign against the coup regime. Inside Honduras, the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) campaigns against the illegitimate government of Porfirio Lobo.
Below is an abridged version of a speech given by Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon at the Sydney action.

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Ammar Ali Jan is a 23-year-old activist in Pakistan who visited Australia earlier this year to speak at the Resistance national conference. He is an organiser of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF), which campaigns for democracy and against corruption. Last week, he spoke to Melanie Barnes from Resistance about what’s been happening in Pakistan, especially the devastating impact of the recent floods.
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Australia now has a minority Labor Party government, backed by the Greens and independents. It is the best government available in the circumstances. It is certainly to the left of any government that would have resulted if either Labor or the conservative Coalition had won a majority at the elections.

Police broke up a blockade by several Aboriginal and environmental activists at Sandon Point on September 14 after they tried to stop land clearing by the Stockland property group.

Sandon Point, on the NSW south coast, has cultural significance for local Aboriginal people. It is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, which activists say are threatened by the planned development.

On September 10, the commercial television regulator, Commercials Advice (CAD) withdrew approval for the screening of a pro-euthanasia ad by Exit International on September 12.

Exit International condemned the decision as an attack on free speech. According to its website, Exit International is ”a leading end-of-life choices (voluntary euthanasia/ assisted suicide) information and advocacy organisation”.

After a record high vote for the Greens in the August 21 federal election, it did not take long for the corporate media to get its claws out.

In particular, Rupert Murdoch-owned News Ltd’s flagship newspaper The Australian has been called out for its string of critical stories and headlines targeting the Greens.

In a September 9 editorial, the paper responded to Greens Senator Bob Brown's criticism that the paper was openly attacking the Greens-Labor deal, saying the Greens “are bad for the nation; and ... should be destroyed at the ballot box”.

As the people of Australia face acute shortages in health, public transport, housing and welfare, the federal and NSW governments will spend about $3 million to get Oprah Winfrey — the US talk-show host and billionaire — to visit Australia. Wait a minute, WHAT?

Winfrey will fly to Australia in December — with 300 members of her audience — to shoot several episodes of her talk show. It has been reported that the federal government will chip in $1.5 million to the trip; the NSW government with throw in a further $1-2 million.

Up to 20,000 supporters of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement rallied at a concert in the Thailand seaside resort city of Pattaya on September 4. It was one the biggest mobilisations since the military bloodily dispersed the Red Shirts’ mass protest camp in Bangkok in May, killing 91 and injuring thousands more.

Red Shirt leader and Puea Thai party MP Jatuporn Prompan called on people to place red roses outside prisons around the country on September 17. Hundreds of Red Shirt leaders and activists continue to be detained.

Thousands of people mobilised across Honduras on September 7 as part of the “civic strike” called by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) to “demand that the neoliberal offensive against the poor be halted”.

The FNRP said rallies were held in the capital, Tegucigalpa and 10 other cities and towns.

The deputy president of Swaziland’s People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) Sikhumbuzo Phakathi was arrested on September 6 at the Phongola border post.

The arrest came as Swazi police and soldiers were deporting a delegation of South African activists from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC).

Pudemo president Mario Masuku was detained before the start of a protest march on September 7 to mark the global day for democracy in Swaziland. He was “escorted home” by police to prevent his participation.

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